LOS ANGELES (AP) — About 200 people walked out of a meeting by a federal government task force Monday in protest over a program that gives immigration officials access to the fingerprints of arrestees.

The Department of Homeland Security assembled a group of law enforcement and community leaders to make recommendations on ways to improve the so-called Secure Communities program, which gives immigration authorities access to the fingerprints of people who are arrested.

After a speaker challenged the two task force members leading the session to resign, about 200 immigrant advocates got up and left, urging the public to follow. Many carried signs that read “Terminate Secure Communities” and flags from a number of countries including Mexico and Brazil.

“We have an opportunity to provide a recommendation,” retired Sacramento police chief Arturo Venegas, a task force member, told the boisterous crowd as they walked out.

About 50 people remained and a smaller, quieter meeting continued.

The meeting was aimed at getting public input on the program at a time when a number of states — including Illinois and Massachusetts — have said they want nothing to do with it.

Isaura Garcia fighting back tears, pleaded with the task force to help end the program.

Garcia, 20, said she called police after an episode of domestic violence to seek help finding a shelter for herself and her 1-year-old daughter, but instead wound up detained and was put into deportation proceedings.

“Calling 911 was the worst nightmare I could suffer in my life,” she said in Spanish.

The meeting was one of the first public discussions of Secure Communities since Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Aug. 5 terminated agreements signed with states to operate the program and said that state approval isn’t required to share fingerprints.

The program touted by immigration authorities as an information-sharing effort has become a headache for the Obama administration, which has plowed ahead with it despite vocal opposition from Latino and immigrant rights groups the president counts on for support.

Immigrant advocates say the program sends immigrants arrested for investigation of minor violations to jail and erodes their trust in police.

They have also criticized the administration for giving the impression that local governments could choose whether to participate when it is in fact mandatory.

On Monday, immigrant rights groups urged members of the task force to call on ICE to end the program and questioned whether any real change would come from the task force meetings held last week in Dallas and scheduled this week in Los Angeles and Chicago.

Immigrant advocates are planning to hold protests Tuesday against Secure Communities in cities across the country.

“It is undermining community-police relations across the country,” Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, told the task force members. “This is not about tweaking the program. It is not about simple modifications…Only terminating the program will make a difference.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that it has recently developed additional training for local law enforcement along with a new policy to protect domestic violence victims. ICE is running the program in 44 states and plans to
achieve nationwide coverage in 2013.

Local law enforcement agencies routinely send fingerprints to the FBI for criminal background checks when an individual is arrested. Under Secure Communities, the FBI shares the fingerprints with Homeland Security to look for potentially deportable

An ongoing source of debate is who is getting identified through this fingerprint sharing. Since 2008, about 121,000 immigrants have been deported after being flagged under Secure Communities, ICE statistics show.

About 6 percent had no prior record with immigration officials or law enforcement; roughly 28 percent had no criminal history, the statistics show.

That has led some immigrant advocates to clamor for changes, such as screening people after they are convicted of a crime instead of when they are arrested.

Groups in favor of stricter limits on immigration, such as the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, counter that it’s not feasible to wait for a conviction and the sole opportunity for consistent screening is during the booking process.

At Monday’s meeting in Los Angeles, several dozen of people spoke ardently against the program but a handful gave it praise.

“The only thing we are asking is to be secure,” said Julio Giron, 45, of Long Beach, while urging the task force to push for a tougher crackdown on illegal immigration.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (34)
  1. Rick says:

    It is common for Law Enforcement to have access to the fingerprint/backround information of those arrested.
    If you commit a crime and get caught you should assume your past deeds/arrest info will be easily attainable to the arresting department.
    So what is it you “immigrant advocates” want? If your ilk were not out there commiting crimes then there should be little you are worried about.

    Fact of ther matter is, when it comes to crimes committed by your own you have this sense of entitlement that ‘we’ should be able to get away with it, while US
    residents should be charged with the crime.

    Your OWN MOVEMENT consistently dictates that you take steps backword.
    Steps forward begin with taking responsibility for your shortcomings (even if it is crime.)
    When YOUR LEADERS/SPEAKERS lead you in a path of lawlessness, you can not expect others to jump on your 3 wheeled bandwagon!!

    1. Stryker 21 says:

      They should be fingerprinted. They broke the law and all law breakers are fingerprinted and locked up or sent back to their bottom feeding third world toilet country.

  2. tyler says:

    Deport them all. Dam cry babies this isn’t Mexico. You don’t like it go back!

    1. Ben says:

      English is our official language but most mexicans don’t speak english.

  3. Noel DesRosiers says:

    they committed a crime when they crossed that border illegally,don’t waste any of our money on them just throw their dirty butt back over where they came from

  4. c-man says:

    If you want to live in this land it’s simple. Learn and speak English and come here the legal way. And if you don’t like the laws of this land, go back to where you came from.

    1. The Mad Man says:

      A dream come true.

  5. George says:

    Illegal immigrant advocates want illegal immigrants to have amnesty from EVERYTHING – including prosecution for crimes, in addition to the CRIME of being in this country illegally. These dimwits shouldn’t even be allowed in the meeting. All they want is anarchy.

  6. hari says:

    laws exist for legal citizens. laws do not exist for illegal entrees. simple as that.

    1. Tempus Nunc says:

      You’ve got that right!

    2. The Mad Man says:

      Sounds nice and simple to me. ILLEGAL is just that, there is no other definition for the word so don’t try and twist the laws to suit the ILLEGALS.

  7. areaman says:

    i think we should adopt mexico’s immigration laws . . . they make arizona’s proposals look like disneyland . . . or, are mexican immigration laws too racist?
    i am so confused . . .

    1. Astonished says:

      Hey, maybe we can make our jails look and act like those in Mexico. This way they will feel right at home!

  8. lauren says:

    I just got fingerprinted a couple days ago. It’s fine with me because I have never committed a crime such as coming into the country illegally or anything else for that matter.

  9. SECURE THE F!%$KING BODER!!! says:

    That lady who called 911 due to a domestic violence issue said that calling 911 was the worst nightmare she could suffer? What if she got killed during that episode of domestic violence? Where would that rank on her “worst nightmare scale”? If the illegals and their advocates were to get everything they wanted, they would simply DESTROY this nation with their knack for lawlessness !!

    1. Jose says:

      She proves why we need this! Domestic violence is a crime. She is an illegal (crime). Her husband/boyfriend (illegal) beats her (crime). Illegals for the most part bread crime. Enough said.

  10. caleb goldfarb says:

    All the filthy Mexes and Arabs should be horsewehipped and deported..

  11. ginny says:

    I guess the real fools in this whole thing are those of us that are born and raised Amrerican Citizens and those that chose to immigrate here following the Federal laws. We provide proof of identifiction for just about everything we do and never think twice about it. BUT, God forbid that we ask someone who might not be here legally to do the same thing. That would be discriminnation. I hate to say it but the only discrimination in this whole discussion is that aimed at the actual CITIZENS of the United States.

    1. Astonished says:

      Yes! I totally agree! Let’s make the playing field even. Mexico has the harshest most inhumane immigration laws in North America! I say we adopt them. Then let’s see how many come here illegally. Getting their fingerprints taken will be the least of their worries!

  12. Bob says:

    If they come to the US illegally that is breaking the law. Then after they come here illegally, they commit crimes, that is also breaking the law. Of course they are going to protest anything to do with deportation, or enforcing the law. They are criminals, and they don’t care.

  13. pedro says:

    You guys are so racist, so what if i’m illegal ? i’m not taking over any of your jobs, i’m on state welfare. i’m not committing any crimes, i’m simply living off the land

    1. Jose says:

      Go home you illegal! It isn’t racist to want to keep people from coming into OUR country illegally. Quit playing the race card.

    2. Astonished says:

      What part of ILLEGAL dont’ you get? I’ll tell you what. I’ll break into your home, and refuse to leave. I’ll make you feed, cloth me and support me with your income and you can’t make me leave because, after all, i’m in your home illegally, and not taking away your job.

      Tell me how would you like it then?

      And as for being racist. BALONEY! Immigration laws pertain to everyone no matter where they come from. If you want to stay here, then return to your country and come back in LEGALLY!

    3. The Mad Man says:

      Well, your living off the land I legally live on. I fought for this country LEGALLY, am a US CITIZEN and entitled to what Americans vote for. Stop living off MY LAND!

  14. igor doublebubblevich says:


  15. mysticyat says:

    “About 6 percent had no prior record with immigration officials or law enforcement; roughly 28 percent had no criminal history, the statistics show.”

    Which means that of the people they checked, 94% DID HAVE A PRIOR RECORD with law enforcement and immigration AND 72% DID HAVE A CRIMINAL HISTORY.

    If police run a check on a homeless white man they have arrested for loitering, it’s called law enforcement. If they run a check on a latino they have arrested for loitering , it’s called anti-immigrant racism….

  16. John Johns says:

    oh sure lets give the hispanics and their illegal brethren special treatment while the rest of us live by the rule of law.
    those people expect and demand that they be allowed a pass whenever they are exposed and captured.
    all their protests, marches, boycots have done is inflame our citizens ,it has not forward their agenda one bit as a matter of fact its created a situation where they are being run out of states. they think by stampeding to another state they will be welcome, boy are they in for a shrud awakining

  17. Astonished says:

    I don’t know about how anyone else on this blog feels, but I can tell you this. The more these guys try to shove this bull down my throat, the less sympathetic and tolerant I’m getting to be. In fact, I’m beginning to lean completely in the opposite direction and I’m beginning to believe we need to close our borders to all immigrants just like Australia did. And I mean all illegals, no matter what country they come from. Since when were we designated as the official dumping ground for illegals anyway?

    As far as I’m concerned, if you are here illegally, you have no civil rights. Legal Citizens and Legal Residents of this Country should come first. Period!!!

  18. Larry says:

    Folks, amnesty (the Dream Act) is not coming. In fact, I expect the 2013 Congress and President to formally reduce legal immigration. With that said, there are 13 million illegal aliens. We have to start somewhere. People who are arrested, for whatever offense, need to be sent home. This is not controversial… inconvenient to illegals maybe, but not controversial.

  19. alan hart says:

    The invasion is over. If employers are forced to use the E-verify then there will be no work for illegals. Then the line will form to go home. Those who have anchor babies will take them with them or leave them with legal relatives. We don’t force the splitting of families, the illegals do.

    Give it some thought. If you are here illegally, maybe its time you beat it back home before there are no jobs there either.

  20. Olga Maclovia Escobar says:

    I do not mind the sharing of information or fingerprints between the agencies. But I am against it when the wrong information is put into the system.

    My fiance is currently in deportation preceedings. This is his summary of events in his life that not only made him come into this country illegally but the pain and suffering that we are going through right now.

    His mother filled paperwork for him to come into this country legally. Before he turned 18 as the law requiers. He lived withhis girlfriend at the time and had a daughter with her. He was a police officer who did the right thing against other corrupt officers. For the sake of his own life and that of his 2 year old daughter. They almost killed him so he fleed for his life to USA. He could not wait for the process of his mothers petition to go through. Where he has been since 1999. His mothers petition for visa came to him a year later. But he was here in the USA and could not go back to his contry to pick it up. For 10 years he had odd jobs and but did mostly mechanic work. He got arrested because someone gave him a stolen car to fix and he was not aware of this. He got a conviction for stolen property. Little things like this earned him a criminal record. But nothing big or major most offences earned him 6 months the most in jail. After a few months of being in this country he got news from his country. They told him that the mother of his daughter was threaten and they could no longer have sontact with him for their own saftey. His daughter is about 14 years old now and he has not seen or heard from her since she was 2. He tried to make a life with a woman about 7 years after coming to this country. Only to have a son with her and she accused him of physical domestic violence. Becasue she was also illegal and was trying to become legal in this country. He was convicted and did his program and completed it. She admited later on to the Judge that she lied only to teach him a lesson because he yelled to much. She even asked for a restraining order for 3 years and was living with him those three years. She threaten to call the police if he didn’t do what she said throughout those three years.And even after they seperated her abuse did not stop. When I meet him he was devestated for all of this in his life. We got engaged within 2 years of living together.But could not get married because I was still married even though I had 5 years of being seperated from my husband. In the course of 1 year he lost his job. My kids where taken away from me with lies of my husband because I did not want o go back with him. BECAUSE OF SOCIAL SERVICES ALL PEOPLE AROUND THE CHILDREN MUST BE FINGERPRINTED TO SHOW IF THEY HAVE A CRIMINAL PAST AND IF THEY CAN BE AROUND THE CHILDREN. THEY DID A LIVE SCAN AND WE PAID FOR ONE TO BE DONE TO THROUGH AND INDEPENDENT PARTY. BOTH LIVE SCANS CAME BACK WITH HIS RECORD THAT ALL WAS IN ORDER. THAT HE HAD NO PENDING CASES OPENED OR ANY WARRENTS OF ANY KIND. IT ALSO ADDED HIS AKA NAMES WHICH INCLUDE HIS BROTHERS NAME AND ANOTHER NAME THAT WE DO NOT KNOW WHERE THEY GOT IT FROM. I also lost my job and by the end of the year. He was almost on his feet again when I fell in the building we had just moved into. I broke my rib and had a collapsed lung. I was in the hospital for 4 days and in bed for 3 months. He never left my side. I got pregnant the next year and developed placenta previa. I was in bed rest from 3 months of pregnancy to delivery. He never left my side. Eventually or savings ran out and had to move in with my mother ina 2 bedroom apt. That she already shared with my brother. One weekend that it was my fiances turn to have his son for the weekend. His ex gave us grife that he could not take his son anymore that weekend. after 2 years of her doing that when I was around I had it. Espacially after she treaten to do physical harm to me. My fiance called the police but but his son in my car. She went into my took the kid out without my consent. THen dragged the kid through the parking lot. When my finacee saw this he went and did a tug of war with her for his son. And she sucker punched him on his right cheek. I called 911 and told them she was being physically violent. WHEN THE POLICE ARRIVED THEY ARRESTED MY FIANCE BECAUSE OF A BENCH WARRENT HAD BEEN ISSUED ON THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE THAT HIS EX HAD LIED ON IN THE PAST. THEY TOLD HIM THAT THAT CASE WAS NOT CLOSED AND THAT THEY HAD TO TAKE HIM IN. ESPECIALLY SINCE HIS EX LIED AGAIN AND SAID MY FIANCE HAD HIT HER FIRST AND THAT SHE ONLY TRIED TO DEFEND HERSELF. WHILE IN CUSTODY ICE PUT A HOLD ON HIM UNDER A HIS NAME BUT DIFFERENT LAST NAMES AND DIFFERENT YEAR OF BIRTH. SAYING THAT IS WHAT THE FINGERPRINT CAME BACK WITH WHEN THEY SCANED THEM. THAT IT IS ONE OF HIS AKA NAMES. WHEN HE HAS NEVER GIVEN ANOTHER NAME IN HIS LIFE EXCEPT HIS BROTHERS NAME. THE COUNTY THAT ARRESTED HIM ISSUED HIM A LETTER STATING THAT HE WAS ONLY DETAINED AND NOT ARRESTED. THAT THERE WAS NO SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO PROCEED WITH CHARGES AND THAT THEY WERE RELEASING HIM. BUT THEY DID NOT THEY TRANSFERED HIM TO ANOTHER COUNTY THAT WAS INCHARGE OF THE BENCH WARRENT. THEN THERE HE FINISHED CLOSED THE CASE FOR NOT SHOWING UP TO COURT. HE WOULD HAVE BEEN RELEASED AFTER HE FINISHED HIS TIME THERE. BUT BECASUE OF THE WRONG INFORMATION PUT IN BY ICE HE WAS TRANCFERED TO THEIR FACILITIES.

    Now he is going through deportation. Our son was born without him there with us. He was arrested on AUG 13, 2010. Our son was born on SEP 20, 2010 that same week my fiance was transfered to ICE.

    In June the court barley recieved a letter from the offices in charge of the visa petition my future mother in law filed. Where it states that her petition was destroyed back in 2000. This the first time the Judge and the DA has come across this situation. So we are waiting for word on how the courts are to proceed now. We were suppose to be back in court AUG 17, 2011 but 4 weeks ago my finace slipped and fell and broke his arm. He was transfered to a maximum security jail in a county that is 2 hours away from where I live.

    We have no money to pay for his bail that he got back in DEC 2010. For at that same time my brother and mother suffered a terrible car accident and have been on disability for 3 months and lost there jobs becasue of it. Now they are on unemployment and do not have enough for our bills. We need my finace out to help with our financial burdens.

    I have been applying for jobs since my son was 2 months old and have not heard back from any of them.

    Since he was transfered to the jail he has not been seen for the broken arm.

    I do not wish what we are going through to anyone. It is a hard financial burden and emotional one too.

    Someone needs to open the eyes of politicians and see what they are really doing. When they sit at a meeting and make decisions that affect the life of others. We are talking about entire families that are being seperated. Traumas that will take long to recover from if at all. Time that families will never get back. Stop pointing fingers in who to blame. Take action by helping eachother so together we can rise up from it all. We are all human beings and we have the same emotions. We have families, dreams, children, goals and want to be able to have it all. There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is the pain and suffering that we as humans are putting on other humans.

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